Trump's ex-media chief, applies to join White House press corps
Four years after he kicked off the Trump presidency by lying angrily about the size of the inauguration crowd, the former press secretary Sean Spicer has applied to join the White House press corps.
The former Republican party official now hosts a show, Spicer & Co, on the hard-right and conspiracy theory-tinged Newsmax network. He has applied for membership of the White House Correspondents’ Association.
“I thought, why not?” Spicer told Politico. “I cover the White House every day on the show, and I have obviously had a lot to say about the coverage of the White House and the correspondents’ association over the last few years. You’re never gonna effect change if you stay on the sidelines.”
Spicer was front and centre on 21 January 2017, when he appeared in an ill-fitting suit to harangue the press, insisting Donald Trump attracted “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration – period – both in person and around the globe”.
In fact it was not even close to the crowd for Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009, though one official, acting on Trump’s behalf, was later revealed to have cropped photographs in an attempt to prove otherwise.
Trump also claimed it had not rained. It had.
Spicer’s constant battles with the press corps made him a celebrity, lampooned on Saturday Night Live, before he resigned over the short and farcical appointment of Anthony “the Mooch” Scaramucci, a brash New York hedge fund manager, as communications director.
Spicer has since become a pro-Trump author, been named a fellow at Harvard and even danced to the Spice Girls on Dancing with the Stars, surviving eight weeks before being voted off.
He told Politico he already had a White House hard pass, guaranteeing access to interview officials, and credentials to cover Congress.
The incoming White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, a former state department spokeswoman, is due to give her first briefing on Wednesday, inauguration day.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Biden will appear before a limited crowd for the ceremony, the National Mall largely filled with flags.
Politico said the WHCA would decide on Spicer’s application “in the coming weeks”.
Former President Trump is showing no signs of wanting to unify the GOP even as party leaders scramble to smooth out divisions that they fear will be damaging in the 2022 midterm elections. In a Saturday night speech to attendees at a donor retreat in Florida, Trump railed against his perceived enemies in both parties and offered little, if any, reassurance that he would try to rally together a GOP riddled with internal divisions and desperate to regain governing power in Washington.
Facebook allowed the president of Honduras to artificially inflate the appearance of popularity on his posts for nearly a year after the company was first alerted to the activity. The astroturfing – the digital equivalent of a bussed-in crowd – was just one facet of a broader online disinformation effort that the administration has used to attack critics and undermine social movements, Honduran activists and scholars say. Facebook posts by Juan Orlando Hernández, an authoritarian rightwinger whose 2017 re-election is widely viewed as fraudulent.
Donald Trump and his Republican faithful faced ridicule on Monday after Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) posted an image of himself presenting the former president with the so-called “Champion for Freedom” award over the weekend. “President Trump fought for American workers, secured the border, and protected our constitutional rights,” Scott tweeted, alongside the image of himself with Trump holding a ceremonial dish.
Former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Monday said the "unemployed" former President Trump has nothing better to do than stir up trouble following his departure from Washington. "Here's a guy who's unemployed, has nothing else to do but cause trouble. And clearly, it's obvious to me that he's not going away," Boehner said on "The View."